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Gimme some picture pointers.

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I don't have a great camera. I use a several years old 10MP Nikon. I setup a quick background on my work bench using a piece of white poster board leaning against a cardboard box. After I take the picture I crop it. This makes the object in the image much larger.

Here is an example of an image before and after cropping.



You might also want to start using a photo sharing website to host your pictures. This will allow you to post much larger photos on the forum.

Make sure you object is well lit so you can avoid using a flash.

Edited by afx
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I take progress photos in the same manner as JC and do OK with it. But, I prefer to take finished photos outside on a cloudy/ overcast day on my concrete front porch steps. With my old camera, the sun seems to wash out some of the color and creates harsh shadows. With no sunlight, the colors have a richer and more accurate look. For me, there's no better lighting than natural.

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I use an old 3.34MP Pentax Optio 330 pocket camera mounted on a tripod and set for macro focusing and then use the timer so that my hand doesn't touch the camera.

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When the weather permits, I use a light box outdoors, and I've been using the same small Nikon Coolpix 5400 for several years now. The combination of the light box and outdoor shooting, can yield some great results. The photo below (1:32 Bf 110 wheels) is a typical result, using that method. Sooner or later though, I’ll buy some floods to use inside with the light box.


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i don't know if my pictures are any good, so maybe the info isn't really valid.


i've got a 5 or 6 year old Sony cybershot camera - maybe 130$ new - can't remember. i still haven't read the manual. i use autofocus and flash goes when it's needed. i sometimes use auto-correct when the picture has been loaded into the computer machine. if what i'm photo-ing can be fit on a table, i use the autotimer feature and an 11$ tripod (ultra-pod) from amazon.


these photos are definitely no "velvet Elvis" es, but they are legible.

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I have a six year old Canon EOS that I use with the lens that came with the camera.

the best amature advice I have is use a tripod and the self-timer on your camera, this will reduce focus issues caused by activating the shutter.

if shooting indoors, try to have two sources of diffuse light to reduce shadows and turn off flash on the camera.

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I had a really good friend who taught photography [he passes a few years ago]

The biggest tip he told me was to keep your light source at your back. Or at least on the same side you're shooting from if it's a model.

You see a lot of people forgetting that and making what could be a really great photo into a just so-so pic or worse.

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These are the desk lamps at my model bench. More than one light source adds a lot. The small torch I use selectively to add interest or bring out a highlight, but not so strong that it looks like a spot. All of photography is about managing light. Without it, subject or composition won't matter.


Edited by Lunajammer
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I still mostly use an ancient 4 megapixel Nikon Coolpix L4. Bought it new, but they're really cheap now used. Also a heavy tripod from the pawnshop, about $15. For lighting, I use 3 $5 swing-arm lamps from the thrift store, with 100-watt-tungsten-equivalent compact-florescent 25W lamps, mixing warm and cool color temperatures. The camera has a 3-power zoom, so the tripod is good for stabilizing it to get sharp depth-of-field. I also use the auto-timer to avoid jiggle. I never use flash for models.


The swing-arm lamps allow the light to come from any angle. The Nikon also came with a simple photo-editing suite that allows for color correction, cropping and image sharpening in the computer before uploading to Photobucket. When I take the time to set up a nice shot with a clean background, it does a pretty good job.


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Hi Miles,

I think most of the points are already covered but I'll throw in my thoughts too.

Camera, anything digital should work, I use a simple Nikon point&shoot coolpix or my bigger Nikon digital SLR , even my Iphone. All of them take good pictures if I spend a few minutes to get things ready for a good picture.

Get close, and if needed set camera to Macro mode so you can obtain focus lock.

Use a background, either a diorama, or, plain white paper. 11 x 17 paper is a good size to work with for most models. Have it curl up at the back like the photo (Mike's post) above so that you have continuous back drop with no lines etc.

Light from above AND behind. Simple clamp on lights from the hardware store are fine or you can get more fancy photo lights. Use the lights from behind to cast a shadow and to highlight the color of the subject. The shadow adds depth to the image. Highlighting the color is important for some colors like candy and metalics. If it is nice outside, shoot outside with the sun to your back and slightly off to one side (so that you are not creating a shadow). Shoot the photo with the sun lower on the horizon (Morning or Evening) to get shadows. The sun light creates a nice natural color which adds to the realism of the photo.

Use a tripod and the self timer on the camera. The tripod keeps the camera stable to reduce blurr and the self timer eliminates movement in the camera when taking the photo. The slightest movement can cause blur.

If using a cell phone or Tablet computer, CLEAN THE LENS!!!! The lenses on these are always exposed and almost always have an oil film on them which will cause all sorts of nasty problems with the photo - most often blurr and flare with light. Depending on how dirty and with what, it can also cause exposure problems and color problems.

Take a LOT of photos, each one with the subject moved slightly different. Getting the color to pop on a car can be tricky and sometimes just a slight change in angle brings it out brilliantly. Try to shoot the car from an height angle as if you were standing there in the same scale as the model. Remember, you are 1:1, the model is 1:25 (or other scale). To add realism, try to have the camera at a scale height of a person. Easy gauge, shoot some pictures of a real car so you familiarize yourself how the photo should look if it were 1:1 scale. Shoot a bunch of photos,with digital, they are FREE. Review all the photos you took and throw away the crummy ones and keep the good ones. Depending on what I am photographing, I may take as many as 50 or 100 photos of a subject, then keep only 5 or so. Again, digital photos are free, its not like the film days :-)

Hope that helps a little bit,

Chris D

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Lots of interesting stuff here.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what I am doing.

I always try to take pictures outdoors on sunny days. Cloudy or indoor pics always seem to make the color seem "off." Whatever the highest resolution is available on the camera is what I set it to. When I copy the files to the computer, i resize them down to about 30-50%.

My camera is a really cheap Sony Cybershot, which I think was the cheapest that Best Buy had at the time. I may have paid $89 for it. I have always used really cheap cameras. In fact, and I`m not sure if Harry wants me to tell you this, but the Big Scale Beauty cover car in my sig was shot with a cheapo Kodak camera that I am pretty sure was under $100 as well.

Anyway, here is the result:


Edited by Hawk312
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